With a name like “washing machine” you probably expect your main laundry appliance to clean your clothes effectively.
As Chicago attorney Ed Wallace knows all too well, however, your washing machine might not be getting the job done. Wallace represents clients suing appliance manufacturers Frigidaire and Electrolux for harboring pockets of mold growth.
Popular for their energy efficiency and water conservation, front loading washing machines may cause as many problems as they attempt to solve. Especially on front-loaders, the rubber seal meant to prevent water from escaping during the spin cycle actually traps moisture and incubates toxic black mold. You could be attempting to clean your clothes in dirty mold and not even know it.
You’ll be able to identify the black mold from its slimy, dark presence in the rim of the rubber seal, just inside the door. Several experts say you can attempt to remediate the problem yourself by scrubbing the mold with a bleach solution (one part bleach to four parts water), but if the mold is too deeply rooted, you may have to replace the rubber seal.
Some other washing machine owners, on the other hand, think solving this problem should be the manufacturers’ responsibility – which is how Wallace got this particular job. He believes the manufacturers knowingly marketed faulty products, and customers are not to blame for their moldy machine issues. Manufacturer Whirlpool won its lawsuit in April, but Frigidaire and Electrolux still have a ways to go.
Most washing machines come with instruction manuals that include advice to leave the front door open between cycles, thereby allowing the inside of the machine to dry. For parents of small children and owners of active pets, though, this action may not be the safest option. Front-loading washing machines are much more within reach of toddlers and terriers than are their top-loading counterparts.
So what’s a concerned washing machine owner to do? We at Mold Inspection Illinois offer you these tips:
- If you don’t have small children or pets running amok, leave the washer door open and let the machine air dry between each cycle
- Remove damp fabric from the washer and dry them as soon as the cycle ends. Leaving them sit is like begging for mold and mildew to settle in your clothes.
- Most washing machines have a “clean washer” cycle. Sanitize the inside of your machine by running either that cycle or a cycle with that bleach solution we mentioned earlier (sans clothes, of course).
- Instead of tossing some fabric softener into the washer, use dryer sheets when you dry your clothes.
- Wipe the water out of your machine after each cycle.
We recognize that most of these tricks seem a bit tedious, but we assure you the extra effort is a small price to pay for the longevity of your clothes – not to mention the health and safety of you and your family.